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GOGOL’S WIFE AND OTHER STORIES By: Tommaso Landolfi May 27, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.
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     One of the Lycan Librarian’s favorite short story collections is by a dark and incredible writer, Tommaso Landolfi, who was known as the Italian Kafka. The title short story is the tale of Gogol and his too-perfect wife about whom he constantly raves, and is one that will surprise you, just as it did the friends he brought home to dinner to meet her. You must, however, bear in mind as you read, that this story was first published in 1954.

     The Lycan Lbrarian feels the best story in the collection is THE TWO OLD MAIDS about two elderly sisters who live next door to a church. They have a pet monkey who can see the mass being said from his cage by their window, and he begins to mimic the priest until he can copy the mass entirely. While many of us would view this positively, as either the act of a superbly intelligent and gifted  animal, or, perhaps, a small miracle, the sisters are not too happy about the creature’s actions.

     This book was introduced to me by one of the most eccentric teachers I have ever had. I loved her college literature course, partly due to her raving enthusiasm for literature, and partly because her choice of lesser known materials was excellent. I had once taken the time to go to her after class and express how much I liked one of the stories we had read in our anthology, and she brought this Landolfi short story collection in for me to borrow the next time the class met. I immediately bought a copy of my own. Since then, I have gifted it to others at least three times that I can recall, and recommended it to uncountable others. Thank you, now retired wonderfully crazy professor, wherever you are!

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